Podclass Show Notes and Links
Episode 4 gets started on the details of the first phase, the Release Phase. This phase happens from days 1-7 (for a 28 day cycle) and is focused on releasing what no longer serves you, physically or mentally. With how the brain is primed during this portion of the cycle, this phase is best for planning, information gathering, and strategizing.
The Release Phase is also a time for supporting a healthy inflammatory system. Since modern women are bombarded with inflammatory compounds and constant stress on a daily basis, promoting a healthy inflammatory response can have a major impact on resolving hormonal imbalances. But it’s not all about decreasing inflammation! Some women, such as those with chronic viral infections and autoimmune diseases, need help with this protective function of the body.
Zestyginger.com to learn more about the 4 Phase Cycle Approach.
Zestyginger.com/cycle to get our FREE Wild Feminine Cycle Guide to get started with everything you need to know about living in sync with your cycles.
Zestyginger.com/healthyhormones to join our 3 month Healthy Hormones Group Program. This program includes functional lab work with a complete hormone and neurotransmitter panel, with a personalized protocol created for each participant based on their results.
Season 1 Episode 4 Blog Post Notes:
These are Days 1-7 of your cycle (where Day 1 is the rest full ow of your period) If you don’t have a reliable cycle to track, go by the cycle of the moon from the New Moon (Day 1) to the Quarter Moon (7 days later)
You are setting yourself up for the next cycle. Evolutionarily, your body is asking if you are safe enough to make a baby right now? You body is making decisions on what is worth doing now or not worth doing now.
This phase asks us to slow down, to rest and calls on introspection. Then we make some executive decision consciously as to how we want to move forward.
This really is a time to sit on the couch and chill out, just like all of the memes say 🙂
We can compare this time of the cycle to Winter. If you look out in the winter, everything is calm, it is icy and you can’t see anything coming up out of the ground. But underneath there is actually a lot happening. The earth uses this time to rest, regenerate, plan and rebuild power so that when spring comes everything is ready for growth.
Treat this like winter. Time to rest and slow down.
The Release phase is a period of rebirth and transformation, and of letting go both physically and emotionally, we are called to set free what we no longer need so we can have space to consciously rebuild more of what we desire in our world
The Dark Subphase: Days 1-3 of the Release phase are quite unique This is when you’re most intuitive, most ready to identify what’s working or not working in your life, and it’s when you can best get clear on where this upcoming cycle is taking you
Yes, this applies to health goals (like treating your hormonal acne or making your periods less painful) but also extends beyond that to an overall happy life!
This Dark SubPhase is also when you feel most physically impacted by your period, and it’s especially helpful to set aside a couple days each month to honor your body’s need to rest, restore, and renew
The rest few days of your cycle can bring out a sense of loss of what you are letting go of, and this is totally normal and natural As you take the time to honor everything you have experienced and learned from, you give yourself space to recover and replenish from a more deliberate and purposeful place
This is why we don’t have you do anything for the elimination diet in the rest 3 days of your cycle
The brain is primed for introspection–not action–at this time but it shouldn’t be considered a “lazy” time; the two halves of your brain are most communicative during the Dark Subphase and it allows you to make HUGE gains in accessing and moving forward with your health
This ENTIRE Release (1st) phase is a time for self-love, intuition, and alone time (and/or being in the presence of supportive loved ones)
Transcript for This Podcast
Hi there. Welcome back to Class 4 of our podclass. Thank you so much for joining me once again. We are going to get into the real good stuff today. So I’m super excited, hopefully you are too. We are going to talk about the first phase today. We are going to talk about physiology, what’s going on, how you will likely feel based on what is happening inside the body naturally. And the whole point of going through this is not that you become doctors or whoever, and try and understand the body. The whole point is if you understand your body and what it’s trying to do, you can work with it instead of working against it, and that is the whole point of understanding. Now I am going to end this class with some action items. However, once we get through all the phases and the discussion of what they are, then I will go back through the phases and do different sort of action steps that are specific for each of the phases. And so there will be a lot more action items, but I first wanted to go through each of the four phases, and give you guys a very clear understanding of what is happening so that you know, without me telling you, how something fits into that.
So Megan and I’s whole goal is not that you come work with us and you need us for the rest of your life. Our whole point is that you come to us, we teach you, and we give you the tool to understand your body. And then you spend, basically, the rest of your life getting better and better and better at being you. And so then you are more comfortable, everything will start to flow more easily. But the idea is that not that you have to have everything answered externally for you, it’s that you will make those executive decisions. And unfortunately in medicine, with the start of patriarchal medicine in the last century, it was all, “you don’t listen to yourself, you go visit someone and they tell you what to do.” And obviously that’s shifting now. You can see that happening in medicine as we go anyways. People just don’t, they’ll shop around for doctors, they’ll look for someone that wants to work with them, not just tell them what to do. But there is still a lot of prevalent stuff in our society in terms of prescribed diets. People don’t figure out what works for them, what they do is say “I’m going to pick an external diet and I’m going to eat like that.” So whether that’s Paleo, or Vegan, or whatever it is. And what we are all about is actually just saying, “ well forget what anyone else is telling you you have to do.” It’s more about, “here’s everything that goes into it, and then you make those decisions.” It’s a lot more empowering to come from that place, instead of feeling like the way that you’re eating, for example, there’s lots of other things, the way that your eating is determined by someone else, and if you mess up it’s like you did your homework wrong or something. That’s just not our goal. And so for that reason – sorry that was a total tangent- but basically that’s why we are so into explaining what’s going on so that you understand and for the rest of your life you know how everything going to fit into a phase.
So let me do, I’m going to do this in each of the four following classes, but we’ll just do an overview so you get more and more comfortable with the lingo. The four phases of the female cycle start with phase one, the Release Phase, and that’s what we are going to focus on today. Then the second phase is the Rise Phase. And then third phase is the Release, oh i’m sorry it’s the Plateau. And then the Pause. Okay? Release, Rise, Plateau, Pause. Over and over and over again. I won’t go into details because I talked about it in the last class so head on over if you haven’t, but basically if you have questions on when to start counting, how to break up the phases, that is all in class three. So just refer back to that. I’m going to speak here as if you already know that. Make sure you go back if you need to.
Release Phase, let’s talk about it:
- The Release Phase starts on day one. And it has a sub phase to it, and that is the Dark Sub Phase. And so that is day 1, 2, and 3 of however long your Release Phase is. And those are just, we wanted to highlight special days because they’re special for the body. The point of the Release Phase, as far as you are physiologically concerned, is that you are setting up a lot of the next cycle. You’ll actually see that the last part of the previous cycle was leading up to it too. But since we have to start somewhere, this is going to kick off a lot of what your body believes is going on, and the evolutionary stuff like, “hey am I safe enough to have a baby right now,” is the question that your body is always answering whether your brain is answering or not. So it’s making decisions of what’s worth doing now and not worth doing now all the time. But this is a crucial phase where the start of the cycle is set up and it will determine how the rest of your cycle goes. And so this phase actually asks us to slow down, to rest, and to do some very careful introspection about what we are feeling, what we are experiencing. And then making executive decisions consciously on what you want to impact going forward. That normal drive that we have where there is tons of MEMEs and jokes like, “oh my period started, eat everything, lay on the couch, pj’s and netflix time.” They’re actually on to something. There’s a reason all women in the world tend to feel that way, and it’s not because all of a sudden all the women in the world are like, “dang I got my period, now I’m lazy.” It’s because your body, there’s this, you can think of it as winter. Things are in the winter, you look out, it looks like everything is calm, it’s icy, you don’t see things coming up out of the ground, but underneath there’s actually a lot happening. Like the earth uses that time, that’s why there’s seasons, to rest, regenerate, plan, kind of like rebuild power. And then spring come and everything just comes flying out and blooming and everything’s ready. So that’s how you can think of it. This is our winter time. And it’s good, and you should, take advantage of your body’s request to slow down. Especially those first three days. We like to treat those three days as, “this is our time. I can retreat.” And we’ve had ladies, they’ll even go do the full red tent thing, where they go to their spare bedroom away from their partners, and they have those three days where they have a little mini retreat. They burn their candles, they do all the stuff their husbands are like, “well that’s weird.” You know, all your private stuff that you kinda just wanna do in peace. They just kind of take that time. And that’s kind of an extreme way to do it, but if that’s what you want to do, then that’s what you’re going to do. The whole point is to get quiet and get introspective enough that you listen and can begin to learn the voice of your own internal guidance. Because that’s a little bit of a super power that women have, right, women’s intuition. It’s kind of a known thing. Women at that point in their cycle are, like we talked about in the first class, left to right brain hemisphere communication is enhanced in women at that time. So just physiologically that’s already happening. You can either ignore it and not know it’s going on, or you could take advantage of it and use it to make your life better. Either way it’s going to happen. So it really to your body doesn’t care whether you are changing stuff or not, it’s more just, “I’m going do this anyways. It’s what I’m scheduled to do this now.” Obviously it’s better to take advantage of it. Those three days, and really the bulk of the Release Phase, is all about planning and getting into a resting quiet mode so that we can begin to feel what we may need. Because you’re not looking to have the next ten cycles mapped out. You just need to know the next steps so you can do that, and then the next step after that becomes clear, and then the next step, and the next step. And you learn and you go, but you are guided by your own internal voice and not someone else being like, “do this supplement. Check out this new weight loss thing. Oh do this thing. Try this guy. Do this thing.” You’re really, that’s the time to slow down. Sometimes we can feel a sense of loss.
- Sometimes people feel a little bit sad. Now part of that can be PMS and that’s a hormonal dysfunction. But sometimes it’s natural to feel a sense of loss, and the reason we called this phase the release phase is because you are consciously choosing to release certain things. Like we talked about in previous classes, if you have a belief that you are sick, you can’t wear that mask of a sick person and then also be a healthy person. You have to pick which one you commit to being. There is a certain continuum to it because it’s life, but you can’t believe you are a sick person and believe you are a healthy person. Right? So this period of time, that gentle introspection that you do, can allow you to think on and dig into some of these beliefs. And that’s why you’ll see the movement goals that we have for this phase, the rituals that we recommend at this phase, the mental work that you’ll do will all be in relation to this, and getting to figuring out what you need at this particular time.
- Physiologically your hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries are all in gearing up mode. So while on the outside it might look like there is not much going on, your ovaries are super busy at this time. This is when the hypothalamus and pituitary begin to tell the ovaries that it is time to start maturing eggs. At each cycle you actually start bringing up maturing follicles and there will be 8-10 of them depending on what’s going on for you. Obviously they kind of decrease as you age. But the idea is there is a recruitment of all of these follicles and then one is going to win out, and that will ultimately go on to ovulate, and that same follicle will go on to produce the progesterone that you need. And also signal for estrogen. That’s the bigger overview, but that’s what’s happening even though it’s that quiet phase, there’s still a lot going on. And that’s why the maturation of those follicles and that time you have of rest is allowing your body to do a really good job of recruiting those follicles and that’s how that determines the little blueprint for that cycle. So it is very important that we not pretend like, “oh getting our period doesn’t matter. Let’s pretend like it doesn’t exist.” There is actually very important actions that your body are doing at this point.
- Even more complicated is all the ways our endocrine systems interfaces with this. The normal hormone signaling that creates that pathway of recruiting follicles and eggs, also will determine things like blood sugar regulation, which is important for PCOS and everyone else. It helps talk to the liver in terms of metabolism of hormones and metabolism of hormone mimicking substances that you may come in contact with. It interfaces with inflamation. You’re having your period – that’s a controlled inflammatory response. There’s lots of signalling that goes into play to make sure that it’s a localized inflammatory response and not something that causes you to have widespread. That’s why hormonal migraines and hormonal acne all get a lot worse at this time, because there is a spiraling out of control inflammation response that’s going on that isn’t getting the correct signals. So if you change those signals, you change what that outcome ends up being.
- So, here’s our thing: during the Release Phase you’re releasing the old, you’re getting ready to think and consider what you want your life to be like next. This is the time to slow down, and all of our rituals – when I circle back around after we talk about the physiology – after I circle back around we’ll get to all of the goals, the movement rituals, and mental work that you do.
Let’s go on to some homework though. Because this homework is kinda fun and – actually I’m going to say this about all of the phases, but – since the release phase, your first homework is to understand that it’s a time for slowing down. That is going to be at the top, and then the rest of the homework is going to go under it.
One thing that is a really really delicious thing to add – and I’m actually drinking it now – is tart cherry juice. You can make yourself a little elixir of:
- 1 Tbsp of tart cherry juice
- Little squeeze of lime
- 12 oz water
That is a great thing to incorporate for lowering and controlling inflammation. You can also, what I have is what’s called the dark moon transition elixir, is you take:
- 1 Tbsp tart cherry juice
- 1 scoop collagen peptides
- 12 oz water
And that is the most amazing recovery drink ever. So whenever I’m feeling depleted, especially during that dark moon phase where I just want nourishment and support and comfort, that is my go to because it is so nourishing to the cells in so many ways.
The other thing that I’m going to give you as homework this phase is you are going to work on incorporating some more probiotics. The people listening to this, I have no idea where you are at, you could be you’ve eaten whole foods for that last seven years, or you could just be getting started. It doesn’t matter where you are. But what I want you to do is think about how you can expand whole food or supplemental probiotics. My favorite probiotic, and Megan’s too, is MegaSporeBiotic. It’s a practitioner only one, so if you want to email us, firstname.lastname@example.org, we order it. There are other practitioners out there that have it, so you don’t have to come to us, but we’d be happy to send it to you. MegaSporeBiotic. We also really like Prescript Assist. That’s also a spore based probiotic, and that one you can get off of Amazon, so you don’t need us for that. And then there is a probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii. It’s actually a yeast strain. I love it for gut health stuff. For a lot of people, obviously probiotics can be tricky for people with things like SIBO so obviously I’m giving general information and I don’t know what’s happening with you personally, but you want to add a little bit of something new that is nourishing to your gut because our gut largely determines the inflammatory response and how that plays into our overall health, especially hormone health. So those are our three favorite probiotics. I actually like adding the Saccharomyces boulardii in with one of the two. So either the MegaSporeBiotic or Prescript Assist. But that combination has done really well and as someone with Celiacs I can relate to, especially the MegaSpore one, that’s a favorite. And it’s actually been studied on people with Celiacs disease, and it’s helped with flora quality and quantity. And so that’s one I really like. That’s if you want to go ahead and do supplements. Otherwise small quantities of kombucha, of kafir, of – what else is fermented – sauerkraut, all of those sources of food, coconut yogurt. Whatever you can handle, do it a little bit. The other option that doesn’t totally count as a probiotic but works in the same way is prebiotics. Prebiotics are great because they basically increase the food that your good bacteria gets. And so for that I like – I learned this from Chris Kresser – you make white potatoes, however boil them, bake them, and then you reheat them until they are warm, but not hot, and that is a source of prebiotics that, while probiotics have shown to increase the strains that are around, probiotics alone aren’t great at rebuilding and having things stick around. So when you are taking the probiotics it helps, when you stop it goes away. When you add prebiotics you basically make your gut a better environment, and they tend to stick around. So you get longer impact. Any one of those, pick what works for you. Start working on some of that information.
And then the other thing is caffeine. And I know it breaks my heart to even say this because as a medical person the hospital runs off coffee. So I have quit caffeine about 18 million times, but it’s really important at first pass if you are impacting inflammation to start considering how caffeine is impacting you and the role that it plays. Basically the way I look at caffeine is it is a supplement and is not just another drink that I can drink whenever. It’s an actual supplement that I use wisely. And if you go on our blog – zestyginger.com/blog – go to the search bar and type in “caffeine.” I have my protocol for how I transition off of caffeine slowly and methodically. And it’s a really nutrient way to do it, because you are incorporating different types of teas. For both increasing nutrients and cutting down caffeine, it’s a really fun protocol. Go on the blog, check that out. Either way, just start thinking about it. If you don’t do caffeine, my challenge to you in terms of impacting inflammation positively is to begin to broaden your intake of different types of teas. Check out different types. Nettle teas are really mineral rich, supportive, inflammation controlling tea that’s super great. Raspberry leaf tea is great for this time in your cycle – although check with all of these plants that you don’t react poorly or have allergies. Dandelion root can sometimes – although that’s more of a detox one – but I still like it as well for this phase. Just try to broaden your tea intake to different plants because they each are very individualized in their constituents. And what you are providing then is a broader trace mineral dose to your body. And then that makes inflammatory processes work that much more smoothly.
Here’s the deal. In the body, whenever you ask for something to happen, you are always asking for a biochemical reactions to occur. Biochemical reactions need cofactors, minerals, vitamins, basically nutrients, to power these reactions. When we don’t have something then the body either a) doesn’t do it if it’s kinda bonus or b) it tries to work around it by going through a series of other steps. But either way when you do that, when you are already deficient, then you end up being really inefficient in your biochemical reactions and you burn through more of your stores. So it’s a really bad negative spiral that you get into where once your down on your nutrients, your body get worse and worse and worse at carrying out the biochemical reactions that it needs to stay healthy and stay alive. And so by broadening our intake of nutrients in any sort of way, especially through teas, spices, veggies, fruits, whatever we have at our disposal, then we’re basically just being like, “here you go, here’s fuel. Here you go, here’s fuel. Fuel for everything.” Fuel makes it better. You are a really fancy machine. Your machine needs fuel to run. And so by broadening out your intake you’re basically supporting your body in all those different ways. And it’s really kind of – I almost feel like it’s cheating ‘cause you’re like, “wait I get to eat all this other stuff, and it’s that I’m improving all of these facets of my health?” It really almost seems like too good to be true, but really if you think about it, that is exactly what your body needs. That’s exactly what it’s asking for.
That is your homework. Hopefully you have something to go out and do while you are in your Release Phase. Make sure you are taking time to honor yourself. Making sure time to honor your emotions. We will talk about all of this again when we circle back around to the lesson about the Release Phase rituals and all of that. But in the meantime, make sure that you’re allowing that voice, internal voice, to speak. And you are allowing her to come out and guide you further along the path that you want to go.
Alright, well thanks for joining me. Thank you so much. It’s been so fun getting to this for you guys. So stop on by, say hi to us on Instagram – we’re @zesty_ginger – and let us know if you’ve been implementing this stuff off this class and let us know how it’s going. Alright guys, we’ll talk to you soon. Bye!